When it comes to cleaning our GladRags, many of us would be a little lost without our washing machines (yes, regular hand-washers, I can hear you chuckling!). They just make it all so easy! The thing about machines, though, is that we can become a little too reliant on them. It’s always good to know how you would carry out a task if the appliance for it wasn’t available. Luckily, some of us here at GladRags have been in that situation, whether happily traveling or grumpily putting off a trip to the laundromat. Follow these steps and you, too, will become a master at washing by hand! Or at least, someone who can clean their cloth pads in a hotel room without breaking a sweat.
Step 1 (optional): Soaking
This step is helpful for loosening up the fluids and helping to prevent stains. You can use a rust-proof container or a sink. If your pads will be soaking for more than a day, you’ll need to change the water (repeat daily). Want to boost the water’s stain-fighting power? Add a dash of Bac-Out enzyme cleanser!
If you’re not a soaker but still want to do your darndest against stains, try a stain remover. We love the Buncha Farmers stain stick since it lasts for ages and travels well.
Step 2: Washing
One of the nice things about GladRags’ multi-part design (inserts + holder) is that it makes them easier to thoroughly clean than an all-in-one design – something you’ll definitely notice when washing by hand!
In the sink: Use cold water and a gentle soap to wash your pads. You can fill the sink to swish, rub, and squeeze the pads in. Use running water to rinse and make sure it runs clear.
In the shower: You can actually have a bit of fun with this one! Throw your pads into the shower/tub and step on them as you’re showering. All the stomping around will help to agitate them and squeeze them out. By the time you are done showering, the water should be running clear, though your pads probably have some soap left on them. Rinse and squeeze until they are soap-free.
Step 3: Drying
Use a drying rack, clothesline, or whatever you have access to (for example, a towel rod). Hanging pads outside on a sunny day is great, since the sun acts as a natural stain-fighter! No matter what method you use, it’s important to make sure your pads are completely dry before storing them.
If you get hooked on hand-washing, you’ll be doing your pads a favor – going machine-free is actually helpful for their lifespan! When machine-washing, we tend to use more detergent than is actually needed. The excess can build up on pads, reducing their absorbency and making them wear out more quickly. When washing by hand, we have more control over the use of cleaning products and can quickly see how much is too much. The dryer is also a big culprit: its heat slowly damages cloth pads, which is why we recommend drying on low.